Berkeley City Council Endorsements

District 1, District 4, District 7 and District 8

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District 1

First Rank: Linda Maio

Second Rank: none

Third Rank: none

While other races have several qualified candidates and are more contentious, the choice for District 1 is the easiest to make. Incumbent Linda Maio has years of impressive experience on the council crafting ordinances and investigating the conflict between constituents and the Pacific Steel Casting Company. Although she is the clear choice for the position, we urge her to address some weak points in her tenure should she be re-elected. For example, Maio should battle the public perception that she is Mayor Tom Bates's lackey; she is a strong enough councilmember to demonstrate an independent voice. Furthermore, we hope she addresses transparency issues with Pacific Steel to incorporate more public feedback. She should not be perceived as an independent liaison with the company.

Surprisingly, neither of the two challengers who met with us bothered to consult Maio and benefit from her experience, a costly misstep. While we like Jasper Kingeter's enthusiasm, his resume is too thin. If he gains more experience in public service, he will be a much stronger candidate in future races. Merrilie Mitchell offered even less substance and would be a noncontributory disruption on council. Anthony Di Donato was the only candidate in all City Council races who did not respond to our request for a meeting. We cannot rank any of them.

Vote Linda Maio as the first and only District 1 candidate.

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District 4

First Rank: Jim Novosel

Second Rank: Bernt Wahl

Third Rank: Jesse Arreguin

The three candidates in District 4 exhibited distinct perspectives from one another, yet all offered impressive experience that could be applied to the City Council. Incumbent Jesse Arreguin is an important advocate for students and also serves as a dissenting voice from the majority of councilmembers. Bernt Wahl emphasized progress and technology, touting innovative approaches to address empty storefronts and deter theft. Jim Novosel is an established city planner and has played a critical role in the Downtown Area Plan.

While we as a organization on campus are grateful for Arreguin's dedication to students, we appreciated Novosel's candor in admitting that our community is not his only, or even first, priority. When asked if he would reach out to students, his response was accurate - more students are clustered in District 7 and District 8. Novosel will be accountable for city residents who may have felt overlooked, although we strongly encourage him to take the students living around Shattuck Avenue into account. This honesty, paired with the experience he can offer for downtown development, makes Novosel our first-rank choice.

Wahl, although the least knowledgeable of the Downtown Area Plan, impressed us with interesting ideas like assessing neighborhoods to identify what potential businesses would be in the highest demand. He was a different and refreshing voice, one that we believe could rise above political infighting. Rank Wahl second for his completely new approach to council.

Finally, we want to acknowledge Arreguin's differing opinions at City Council meetings and realize the city risks losing perspective if he does not retain his office. However, we were underwhelmed by his presentation and fear he has pandered to a minority of his district with such a heavy emphasis on students. The ideology unfortunately does not translate to the best representation for all constituents. Still, Arreguin absolutely deserves to be placed on the ballot - we recommend him as third rank.

Rank Jim Novosel first, Bernt Wahl second and Jesse Arreguin third for District 4.

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District 7

First Rank: George Beier

Second Rank: Kriss Worthington

Third Rank: Cecilia Rosales

District 7's is a highly contested race centered around Telegraph Avenue, the area that is relevant to the greatest number of students. Three committed candidates are vying for a seat that affects a lot of students in terms of commerce, People's Park and Southside safety.

Cecilia Rosales, the newest name of the three candidates to Berkeley politics, offers a fresh perspective, as was shown in her proposal to form a mobile task force to respond to hazards around People's Park. Yet overall her plans seemed vague, especially compared to her opponents'. Still, we recommend ranking Rosales third on your ballot.

Our first-rank endorsement comes down to two longstanding rivals: incumbent Kriss Worthington, who has been in office since 1996, and George Beier, who first fought for the seat in 1998.

Worthington has had a strong tenure as an advocate for students. He also provides a distinctive and often minority voice at council meetings. Additionally, he has been a key contributor to the city in needed measures like the Rainy Day Fund, which put money aside before the economic downturn.

Beier is a dynamic candidate with strong plans to address crime rates and revitalize Telegraph Avenue. He was thorough and the most prepared candidate who came to talk to us, providing a level of detail that surpassed many of our other discussions.

Worthington and Beier are extremely close in our estimations, and it was challenging to set one ahead of the other. However, we ultimately endorse George Beier as the first choice for District 7. He has proven that he is prepared for the position and has crucial support from the police and owners of landmark businesses like Moe's Books. Worthington has had his chance for 14 years; we would not mind seeing a new representative in the district. That being said, Worthington is a close second-rank endorsement.

Rank George Beier first, Kriss Worthington second and Cecilia Rosales third for District 7.

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District 8

First Rank: Gordon Wozniak

Second Rank: Stewart Jones

Third Rank: none

District 8 poses a challenge for candidates that claim they have to run two races - one designed for long-term residents in established neighborhoods and the other aimed at students who make a large part of the constituency.

The candidate who best demonstrated knowledge of both distinct aspects is also the most experienced - incumbent Gordon Wozniak. He expressed a comprehensive approach for district issues in our meeting with him in every issue he discussed, though he did not mention the problem of traffic before his allotted time expired. We encourage him to address this latter problem but have confidence in his abilities. Rank Wozniak, as we have, the number one choice for District 8.

Jacquelyn McCormick did not appear to have much knowledge beyond her student-less neighborhood and does not seem ready to serve the entire district. We do not believe she merits a rank. However, candidate Stewart Jones showcased a passionate and extensive knowledge of the city. He would be a polarizing presence on council but could serve as a key dissenting voice to the established majority. We cautiously rank Jones second but emphasize that there is a clear and significant difference between him and Wozniak, unlike in other, closer races.

Vote Gordon Wozniak first for District 8, and rank Stewart Jones second.

Tags: DISTRICT 4, BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL, KRISS WORTHINGTON, LINDA MAIO, JESSE ARREGUIN, GEORGE BEIER, JIM NOVOSEL, DISTRICT 1, DISTRICT 7, DISTRICT 8, JASPER KINGETER, 2010 NOVEMBER ELECTIONS, CECILIA ROSALES, STEWART JONES, JACQUELYN MCCORMICK, MERRILIE MITCHELL, BERNT WAHL, GORDON WOZNIAK


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